South African Belief

Tammy: I was born in South Africa and I am 22 years old. And ummm…. Basically in South Africa when, you know growing up that you shouldn’t go to the beaches on New Year’s day because that is when all the colored people will be at the beaches and you know that the streets are going to be just absolutely crazy, so you don’t go outside that day.

The beliefs Tammy described growing up “just knowing” do clearly represent the political and social climate of South Africa. Additionally, the way the meaning or suggestion behind these beliefs was overlooked by Tammy, her peers, and others within her culture, proves how saturated the South African culture is with such views. The sense of fear associated with interacting with the black population is engrained within their culture. Tammy describes these beliefs as second nature; not something they spent time analyzing or inquiring about, but rather sort of common sense of South African life. The underlying racism evident in their unwillingness to be at the beach with the black South Africans along with the fear within these beliefs notably depicts the social issues plaguing South Africa. Tammy was not flippant in her reference to these beliefs. She clearly understood the negative connotation attached to her performance yet she was blatant in her delivery, indicating the how matter of fact and prevalent they were in South African culture. These cultural “givens” all encompass a sense of anxiety, specifically in reference to black South African citizens. Tammy’s description of the known expectation for violence (getting “mugged”) reveals the culture’s instability and acceptance of their uneasy way of life.